Redman – Whut? Thee Album.…. (Def Jam/RAL)
Released: September 22, 1992
Before I started my Masta Ace stan like ways, Redman was the dude I was always checkin’ for. His first two albums are in my top 10 of all-times. They are both albums I could listen to everyday for the rest of my life and not grow tired of in the least. It was the combination of Red’s gruff, surely voice rhyming over some dirty, stankin’ funk that you don’t hear anymore that made me love Redman’s music. Coupled with a sense of humor and just an overall album that made it listenable from beginning to end, I learned every word to Redman’s debut album “Whut? Thee Album”. I would growl at the moon while blastin’ the CD with my boy and I blazin’ up in the middle of the desert. Ahh, the good old days. My introduction to Redman would probably be the same as most anyone else not hailing from the NY/NJ area in those days, I was put on to him from EPMD and his appearances on “Business As Usual”. Then “Headbanger dropped earlier in the summer on the Business Never Personal LP, which of course contained a classic Redman verse “rawwr rawwwr like a dungeon dragon…”, by this time I was starting to fiend for an LP. It would also be summertime that “Blow Your Mind” dropped as a video on “Yo! MTV Raps” then he would also be on a freestyle tape that I bought from the back of “The Source” magazine. Needless to say by the time the album dropped, I was in a frenzy.
The album jumps off with a barrage of energy in the form of “Time 4 Sum Aksion” as the bassline and B-Real sample could make a dead person get up and move his ass. Especially when we get to the hook, with the horns blaring and the bassline getting darker. Redman drops memorable line after memorable line with rhymes such as:
(LET’S GET READY TO RUMBLE!)
In this corner we have the funk bodysnatcher
P Funkadelic and I gotcha hard enough
That I can chew a whole bag of rocks
Chew an Avenue, chew an off street and off block
Then turn around and do the same damn thing to a soloist
Cause Reggie Noble’s pissed
I crush your whole brain frame
Cause you couldn’t maintain the funk
That have your rap style for lunch, chump
Cause 92, I take a whole crew
Give them a punch of the funk, knock all of their gold tooth loose
To show you what type of stuff I’m on
You can’t puff or sniff it
Because I was born with it
The Funkadelic Devil, hit you with the rap level of 10
Then 1, 2, 3 You’re pinned
I get action, so everybody jump wit your rump
If you like the way it sounds punk,
Pump it in your back trunk
And let loose with the juice when I do rock
I’m too hot, some say I got more Juice then Tupac
I’ve always said I can’t decide which is more impressive on this album, Redman’s lyrics or the production, which is some nasty, dirty, sloppin’ funk. “Da Funk” is another example of the E Double dropping probably his best production of his career as Red just flows effortlessly over the P Funk sample. “So Ruff” is another exercise in Redman dropping verbal gymnastics. It’s songs like these that make Red one of the most gifted MC’s in the game at the time. More Parliament samples litter the song, which is right up Red’s alley, the stankin’ dark alley. E Double joins in on the lyrical fun on “Watch Yo Nuggets”, as another filthy bassline that used to rattle my trunk, finds Red and E dropping lyrical gems and really showcases Erick Sermon at his best. Redman comes on the multi personality tip as “Redman meets Reggie Noble”, sees Redman rhyming against himself. There is the wild and crazy one, then there is the everyday bro found on the corner block, kickin’ it.
The fact is, there is not really a bad joint in this collection of juicy funkalicious jams. The production is all on point and Reggie Noble and Erick Sermon serve up funk treats that just aren’t found anymore. These are all joints that would rattle anyones trunk with the quickness. Then add in Redman’s diverse deliveries and flows and you have an album that will always be within arms reach at all times.
MC Ren – Kizz My Black Azz (Ruthless)
Released: June 30th, 1992
In 1992, after a successful four year run, the N.W.A. foundation fell apart. Cube bolted back in 1990, Dr. Dre left and released “The Chronic” in ’92 to an almost unexpecting hip hop crowd. Eazy-E was left on his own as well as the one person that remained loyal to him, the most underrated member of NWA, MC Ren. Nobody can really dispute Ren’s presence on the mic. His voice has always been one that demands attention. I’ve often said that I felt Ren was just as good a lyricist as Cube, Cube could just make better songs and albums than Ren. Despite being the lone gunman left in Eazy’s posse, Ren would drop his debut project, the Kizz My Black Azz EP on Ruthless.
The EP comes in at a short five songs and an intro. All the songs except one, Hound Dogz, were produced by Bobcat. The production isn’t anything particularly special, but has it’s moments. The intro “Check It Out Y’all”, is one of my all-time favorite intro joints ever. The energy it posses gets up pumped up enough to go Mike Tyson on someone. It’s nothing but an instrumental track with famous Ren “quotes” scratched in over the beat. The beat is some straight “bomb squadish” sounding shit, with the siren, an ill bassline, and when “grab the nine and the clip and go fuckin’ up shit” blares over the speakers, it makes you want to grab the locs and the Raiders hat cause “I don’t give a f-f-f-fuck”. Ren has some decent story telling skills as he displays those skills on “Behind The Scenes”, which follows the same concept as Ice Cube’s “Givin’ Up The Nappy Dug Out” as Ren spins a tail about a girl who used to get straight A’s in high school, but eventually turns into the neighborhood slut. The beat employs the familiar west coast samples of the day, but it works nicely. “Final Frontier” is my personal favorite joint on the EP. Employing the same sample that BDP used on “The Bridge Is Over”, with the piano keys and some slammin’ drums. Ren comes hard with t
he opening verse that always got me pumped:
I’ll beat a niggaz ass on the trick just for the hell of it
there the motherfuckin piece of pussy there’s no tell of it
I don’t give a damn I’ll beat a nigga like he’s stole somethin’
and then I’ll let the motherfucker know where Ren is comin from
I’m from Compton everybody’s on the wagon
I’m looking for niggaz that’s thinkin’ that they’re the shit, that’s who I’m taggin’
Never asking questions I just go right in and do it
And if you’re thinkin that you can fuck with Ren you bitch already blew it
Like I said before, fools want up in my shoes
But after fuckin with me they’re givin’ up rap, and they’re singin’ the blues
Me and DJ Train dropping bombs like a P2
So you should get the picture or if not, you get a preview
That we don’t take no shit
Cause MC Ren ain’t a nigga that you wanna try and fuck with
Kick a little ass in my spare time to keep myself occupied when I’m not bustin’ up a rhyme Writin that shit that ya love to hear cause MC Ren is the final frontier
In my younger and more ignorant days, this song was just the shit to me, then mix in the piano keys from “The Bridge Is Over” and this song was a top 10 song for the year in my book. Now Bobcat was no Dr. Dre, but as I said, he didn’t do a shabby job on the EP. “Right Up My Alley” is probably the strongest overall beat to be found on the EP. It sets a nice tone as Ren describes an alley in his city that you don’t want to be caught in after dark. Ren is most at home on tracks like this, where is kickin’ a story about the ills of the ghetto. Don’t get me wrong, Ren isn’t trying to solve the problems, he is just reporting on them. As Chuck D said, rap music is the CNN of the ghetto and Ren is just reporting what he sees. “Hounddogz”, is all Ren on the beats and the lyrics. Not a bad track, it just seems to lack the energy that the other tracks have. Again our topics are about the “triflin’ ass hoes” and people who weren’t down in the beginning. It all ends with “Kizz My Black Azz”, probably my second favorite track found on the EP. The song is fairly self explanatory. Ren goes off on all the doubters, haters, and anyone others such as “live instruments on the stage”, which is kind of odd, but Ren doesn’t spare any words as he says “real rap artists don’t need a band”. Not sure if this was aimed at anyone in those days, but Ren likes his rap with two turntables and an MC. He also goes after those talkin’ behind his back. No one is spared Ren’s fury on the track.
You kind of get the feeling Ren felt he had something to prove here. Eazy was always seen as the brains behind NWA, Cube was the lyricist and of course had gone on to achieve HUGE success, and while Dre hadn’t yet released “The Chronic”, he was seen as the music behind the band. Ren was just kind of…well just kind of there. I won’t go out and say that he quelled all the naysayers, because he really didn’t and I don’t think he really ever did, but Ren was just as talented as the rest of the NWA members.
Lench Mob – Guerrilla’s In Tha Mist (EastWest Records)
Released: September 22nd, 1992
Being a snot nosed white kid at the ripe age of 19, I wasn’t sure to piss my pants in fear or bump the insanely crazy ass beats on this album when I picked it up the day it dropped. Ice Cube was all over the place in those days. He was dropping classic albums in “Death Certificate”, was showing up on classic movies “Boyz N The Hood”, so when Lench Mob dropped their first single and video, Guerrillas In The Mist, I was immediately all over it. The single of course had Cube on it as well. While the single wasn’t really any indication of what was about to come, it did get a buzz going, and I would be at the record shop to buy it on tape the day it dropped.
Now imagine if you will, a fairly naive white kid the first time he hears this album. It shocked the shit out of me. For those of you unfamiliar with Da Lench Mob, it was a three man crew made up of J-Dee, T Bone and Shorty with Ice Cube making more than a few apperances . All three were fairly intuned with the teachings of the Five percenters and the Muslim ways. Needless to say, they were pushing the line with some of their sayings on this album. X-Clan was rather bold in some of their sayings and teachings on their albums, but Da Lench Mob got right in your face. Songs like “You & Your Heroes” which basically disses every white icon from Larry Bird, Rocky Marciano, The Beatles, Babe Ruth, Marilyn Monroe and every other “zero” according to the LM. Now I didn’t have a problem with P.E. dissing Elvis, because I basically learned at a young age that Elvis wasn’t all that, but I wasn’t sure how to handle what they were saying. Then you had “Freedom Got An A.K.”, which wasn’t quite as bad but still sounded like Public Enemy on a bad day. All in all, at the time, the album kind of scared me. I wasn’t sure how to digest all that they were spitting about. It would have actually been really easy for me to shove the tape in my glove box and never think about it again, and I probably would have…..except the beats on this album are freakin’ INSANE.
If I had to pick my favorite albums just based on the production, this album would be in the top 5, no doubt. The production is credited to Ice Cube, which I doubt very highly. The co-producers are credited as T-Bone, Rashad of the Boogiemen (with DJ Pooh and Bobcat), Mr. Woody (who did some work on The Predator) and Chilly Chill (who I believe was down with The Madd Circle), who I think I would credit with the production more than I would Cube. Again, it’s filled with loud sounds, deep basslines, odd concepts and familiar funk loops, but it’s just adrenaline pumpin’ all the way through. The lead off track, “Buck The Devil”, employs a wicked bassline and hard hittin’ drums that gives the track its feel of “down with the devil” message that it sends. I probably use this term too much, but it definitely has that “bomb squad” sound, which is probably Ice Cube sayin’ “Hey let’s make it sound like this….” after working with the Bomb Squad some two years prior. The aforementioned “You & Your Heroes” has one of the illest
beats on the whole album with the slammin’ drums and the siren. All the goodness I love in a chaotic beat. “Freedom Got An A.K.” has the Jame Brown scream over it, but also has that Bomb Squadish feel to it as well. It’s not all crazy sirens and whistles as both “Ankle Blues” and “Lord Have Mercy” have soulful melodies associated with each beat.
I have a problem declaring anything racist that is not associated with white people as I just have a problem with all the shit Caucasians have done to bitch about reverse racism, but to say that this album was a shock originally would be an understatement. But that’s the beauty of music, the beats on this were dope enough that I had to listen to what they had to say. While I may not agree with all that is said on this album, I can credit it with part of my education in being a better person. And oh yeah, the beats are freakin’ amazing as well.
True Culture – Rude Boys Come To Play (Cardiac Records)
Released: 1992 (Spring? Summer?)
Some albums just sneak under the radar. Maybe they weren’t promoted well enough, maybe they weren’t all that good, besides one or two tracks that were released as singles. Sometimes they were decent albums that just slipped under ever ones collective. True Culture’s “Rude Boys Come To Play” is kind of a combination of all of those scenarios.
I have yet to hear of many people talking about this album. The first time I asked for a copy of this on Cocaine Blunts, people acted like I was weird as fuck and on crack. And that board had everything at the time. Not much can be found on the internet about this duo made up of Young Dred and E-Z Mike. I believe they were coming out of the Bronx and they were heavily influenced by the Jamaican dancehall sound as many of the joints contain the Jamaican tinge and the ragga musical influence. In 1991, they would drop the lead single “It’s So Good, It’s Bad”, which garnered some attention on “Yo! MTV Raps”. This would be where I would get into the group. “It’s So Good It’s Bad” got major play from me as I would snatch up the maxi cassingle back in the day.
As mentioned, tracks like “The Vibe”, “I Cry”, and the familiar sounding “Rude Boys Come To Play”, which uses the same loop as the Dream Warriors used on “Ludi” from their debut album, all have the reggae. The title track would be the second single and video for the group which also gained some attention, but the group never would break out past these two singles. The album starts out very strong as “Fakin’ It”, “Annihilators” and the aforementioned “It’s So Good, It’s Bad” are all very strong songs. The problem lies in the last half of the album as they start messing with the house sounds, and some other played out cliches that were around during the time. Joints like “Trapped In A Bassline” and “Baby’s Feelin’ Hot” are both pretty horrid attempts at their particular genres.
Personally, I’ve always had a place for this in my stacks of CD. I found a copy on Amazon a year or two ago for fairly cheap, so it’s something that I break out from time to time and give a listen. There are some good cuts on this, well worth the check out.